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So Punx(sutawney) Rock: How to Celebrate Groundhog Day

This year, Groundhog Day falls on a Saturday, which means you can either toast the spring-embracing skittishness of Punxsutawney Phil or drown your sorrows in smoked porter as you hunker down for six more weeks of winter.

Either way, consider it a warmup for the Superbowl.

February 2 is roughly halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox. According to Sir Wiki, the day originates in an 18th-century Pennsylvania German custom; earlier, related pagan practices also used animals as weather prognosticators.

It’s a bit like what St. Patrick’s Day is to the Irish, but also earthier. At the many fersommlings thrown across southeastern Pennsylvania, guests are required to speak Pennsylvania German, lest they incur a fine of a few cents.

Not that you have to be as strict at your own marmot-themed celebration. Here are some suggestions for the menu:

Appetizers

– Leek and chestnut soup (Groundhogs love their nuts and leaves…)
– Cottage cheese and apple butter on German bread. And pig’s feet jelly, for the brave.
– Groundhog Pecans

Main

– A loaf of scrapple, a panfried mush of buckwheat, cornmeal and pork scraps
– Chowchow (pickled vegetables)
– Beer-grilled bratwurst with sauerkraut and a trio of mustards

Dessert

– Shoofly pie
– Crème brulee (for extra flair, serve in dark ramekins, so they look like burrows)

To drink
– Birch beer
– The Oak Room Special
– Pennsylvania Dutch brandied cider

As for the background entertainment — need we even say?

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